Specific Heat Problems
What they are and how to solve them
Definition of Specific Heat Capacity
What do I plug in and where?
In order to solve for our answer, we have to plug the numbers in to the formula. In order to plug in the numbers, we need to know where they go.
The "ɋ" in the formula is where the heat goes. The heat is in joules ( J ). If the heat is being absorbed it is positive. If the heat is being released it is negative.
The "m" in the formula is for the mass. The mass is typically given in grams ( g ) but sometimes you will have a problem in kg. In this case you'll have to convert kg to g.
The "c" in the formula is where the specific heat capacity goes. The specific heat capacity is given to you in J/g °C.
The "ΔT" in the formula is the change in temperature. You are usually expected to calculate this on your own. It should always be in °C.
Read the equation and plug in what goes where in the formula. Then begin to solve the problem with the necessary steps.
In this example problem you first will multiply 100g with 60°C. We are trying to get the "c" alone in order to find the specific heat capacity.
You will then divide both sides by 6000 to get the "c" alone.
After dividing 2500J by 6000g°C you should get the answer.
The answer should be c=0.4 J/g°C
If you did it correct, pat yourself on the back! If not, try it again and watch the video at the bottom of the page to help you understand better.